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Climate Change: Are we doomed? - Dr Hugh Hunt

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[Please note that the formal hall with speaker has already sold out.]

Please join us for a talk on environmental engineering by Dr Hugh Hunt of the Department of Engineering on 21/11/2019 in Benson Hall, Magdalene College. The title of the talk is “Climate Change: Are we doomed?”.

After the talk there will be a formal hall from 19:30 to 21:00 in Magdalene College so anyone interested can sign up for the dinner! Members of Magdalene College can sign up via the usual booking system while non-members can sign up via contacting this page or by emailing rr548@cam.ac.uk; please include any dietary requirements.

Synopsis: We’ve heard enough about the Paris 1.5C target – which we’ll miss. We’re probably heading for a disastrous 4C. So are we doomed? What if we can we cool the planet if we fail to meet our CO2 emissions targets? Scary stuff – we need to be talking about it! There are “geoengineering” technologies out there almost ready to go and some sound quite scary. Many pundits question whether it is safe to meddle with the climate when we only have one Earth, but others argue that we haven’t much time left before climate change runs away from us. This talk will present technologies which may be urgently required to slow down the progress of Arctic melting. One project, SPICE (Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering), proposed a small experiment but the experiment was shut down for fear of “the slippery slope”. Research in geoengineering has ground to a halt. But we’re short on action on all fronts. If we’re too late and the arctic permafrost warms up then we may need to capture billions of tonnes of atmospheric methane. The scale of the problem is huge, and we’re not well prepared.

Speaker bio: Dr Hugh Hunt is a Reader in Engineering Dynamics and Vibration at Cambridge University. His research centres on the control of noise and vibration from underground railways, but he got caught up in geoengineering as Co-Investigator on the SPICE project, 2010-15, which looked at various aspects of SRM (http://www.spicepipe.co.uk) . He was responsible for an outdoor experiment, the 1km testbed, which was intended to evaluate the influence of wind on the motion of a tethered balloon, but controversy over geoengineering experiments led to the testbed being canceled. He is now promoting other technologies for the removal of non-CO2 greenhouse gases, in particular methane and N2O (http://www.suggr.co.uk) . He also runs the Cambridge Climate Lecture Series which aims to raise awareness of the urgency around climate change (http://www.climateseries.com).

Hugh is a regular presenter on television documentaries on Channel 4, PBS Nova and SBS , including “Dambusters: Building the Bouncing Bomb”, “Attack of the Zeppelins”, “Escape from Colditz” and “Guy Martin Wall of Death”. He is Keeper of the Clock at Trinity College, a clock which is demonstrably the most accurate tower clock in the world (http://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/clock) . He has an impressive collection of boomerangs which he uses to inspire students in the study of dynamics and mechanics.

This talk is part of the The Blackett Society series.

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